On the New Jersey Turnpike in the early morning hours of June 7, 2014, a truck driven by a Wal-Mart employee rear-ended a limousine bus that was carrying famous actor and comedian Tracey Morgan and four other passengers. As a result of the accident, James McNair, a fellow comedian and friend of Tracey Morgan that was on the limousine bus, was killed. Tracey Morgan sustained multiple injuries including broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg.
The Case Against Wal-Mart
Tracey Morgan soon filed a complaint against Wal-Mart alleging that the company is liable for not being aware that the driver of the truck had been awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the accident. Our Atlanta accident lawyers note that companies can become liable for the actions of their employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior, which imposes liability on an employer for the negligent acts of its employees provided that the negligence alleged occurred within the scope of employment.
Here, the act of operating a truck while being awake for 24 consecutive hours can be seen as negligent, and as such, Wal-Mart can potentially be seen as liable for allowing an employee to operate a truck in such a state.
Traditionally, when one individual rear-ends another, they are presumed to have been negligent, however, there are other factors that come into play when assessing liability.
Wal-Mart takes the position that they are not at fault for Tracey Morgan’s injuries stemming from the accident. Their reasoning for denying responsibility hinges upon the allegation that Tracey Morgan and the other individuals traveling in the limousine were not wearing their safety belts and that it was this failure to wear safety belts that led, in whole or in part, to the injuries sustained by Tracey Morgan and the other passengers.
Failure to wear a safety belt can muddy the waters of litigation and make recovery very difficult. Any action that is taken by a victim that could have caused or exacerbated an injury can truly limit the amount of a recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation and should consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer. Contact McAleer Law today for a free consultation with one of our expert Atlanta car accident attorneys.